Wirenuts Part II

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I was always taught the 'right' way to use wire nuts was to pretwist or 'pigtail' the bare wires first, apply the wirenut in correct size and then use vynyl tape over all as insurance. Why not just solder?? Never given a straight answer by anyone except that its not neccessary or allowed. I see they also have wirenuts that incorperate both twisting and crimping after application, anyone had any experiences with these? Sorry for complicating a simple matter, but i like doing right and knowing why its right, not just blindly adhering.
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message :I was always taught the 'right' way to use wire nuts was to pretwist or : 'pigtail' the bare wires first, apply the wirenut in correct size and then : use vynyl tape over all as insurance. ==> You were taught wrongly. : Why not just solder?? Never given a straight answer by anyone except that : its not neccessary or allowed. "Just" solder? Without using anything as insulation? Actually, you can solder in many places; check local codes first though.
I see they also have wirenuts that : incorperate both twisting and crimping after application, anyone had any : experiences with these? ==> Yup, I have.: Sorry for complicating a simple matter, but i like doing right and knowing : why its right, not just blindly adhering. ==> What's been made complicated? Don't see anything complicated. Pretty simple stuff.
: :
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Most folks dont solder well....also solder expands and contracts with heating and cooling of electrical joints...soldered joints can eventually loosen...as all electrical joints can...but a wirenut or a mechanical connection can be retightened easier than resoldering.
Look...if you use wirenuts...twist em up good and tight and use the wirenut to insulate the connection..tape it well....you will be all set...
I dont like crimp connectors on solid wires ... Ive used the ones for grounds....but only apply them after twisting the ground together well... Dont like them on current carrying conductors as most folks dont use the proper tool to crimp them down or they dont crimp them well. I run onto a lot of crimped connections that are on solid wire and they are almost always loose crimps.
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: Most folks dont solder well.... ==> Right, and that's exactly why many codes won't accept soldering. That, and burning the house down in the process <g> I suppose.
also solder expands and contracts with : heating and cooling of electrical joints...soldered joints can : eventually loosen...as all electrical joints can...but a wirenut or a : mechanical connection can be retightened easier than resoldering.
==> Actually, no, that's not an issue. As long as it's a properly soldered/cleaned joint expansion/contraction is a zero issue with solder. It's not hard to learn and takes no longer to solder than to twist on nuts without solder. Strip,Solder, screw, pack & go. The actual downside of soldered joints is learning you need extra slack in the event of future changes. When I lived in Chgo (Cook County) I managed to get my hands on several reels of ten gauge stranded )THHN? not sure; it came from a factory demise) wire (forget whethe it was 7 or 12 strands now) and when I rewired the house I wanted to use it. They not only let me use it, they let me solder it and cap it with wirenuts and tape. The only caveat was I had to leave ALL junction boxes available and be prepared to open up to 25% of them for closer inspection, so I didn't tape until after the inspector left. He opened 5 connections in three boxes in the basement and then just inspected the verticals conduits for radii and tightness, and I was done. Took about half an hour for the whole house inspection. The inspector giggled when he found my neatly arrayed bank of 15 Amp ckt breakers all neatly arranged in one area of the box; said it was the neatest job he'd ever seen. It was: It was my first whole-house rewire, my own house, and I wanted to pass inspection! No cut corners there!
Just my 2 cents
Pop : : Look...if you use wirenuts...twist em up good and tight and use the : wirenut to insulate the connection..tape it well....you will be all : set... : : I dont like crimp connectors on solid wires ... Ive used the ones for : grounds....but only apply them after twisting the ground together : well... Dont like them on current carrying conductors as most folks : dont use the proper tool to crimp them down or they dont crimp them : well. I run onto a lot of crimped connections that are on solid wire : and they are almost always loose crimps. :
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Soldering is a sure way to get an negative response from my local inspection department.
I have used various "wirenuts" for 30 years. I hate the scotch locks and prefer the Ideal Wingnuts. There is a softer manufacture that make the "yellow" size in "tan" if I remember correctly. Pratice makes perfect. I do not use tape over the joints but if you want to.............
I have never seen a "wirenut" that involves twisting and crimping, please show me. I have used crimp sleeves with the proper tool, but I do not twist the wires first. I use ratchet crimpers which meet Mil specs. Have not used the old handle crimpers in years, was never fond of them anyway.
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solder will crack under stress - such as when the wires are moved as they are pushed back into a box. solder will also weaken and detach under thermal loads - such as if the wires are undersized and get warm. the wirenuts also provide physical protection to the connection and the sharp points/edges (wire ends).
note also that many modern wirenuts are designed to be used on wires that are not pretwisted - many will say this right on the package.
Rusht Limpalless wrote:

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: solder will crack under stress - such as when the wires are moved as : they are pushed back into a box. solder will also weaken and detach : under thermal loads - such as if the wires are undersized and get warm. ... You don't really know anything about soldering, do you? It is NOT allowed by most codes though, but not for the reasons you cite.
Pop
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

run across 2 failed ocnnections, both because of a "cold joint" - soltder never bonded to one wire. Joints in boxes are always twisted before soldering. I have read they were pointed down, fluxed and then soldered by bringing around a solder pot and immersing the connecttion.
Solder is still permitted - the connection has to be electrically and mechanically secure before soldering (twist the wires). (NEC 110.14B)
Tom's post on grounds sounded vaguely familiar. Connections that depend on solder may not be used to connect grounding electrode conductors to grounding electrodes. (NEC 230.70) Who knows - there may be other references.
------------------------- The Radio Shack set screw terminal strips are not shown as UL listed - I would be real leary of using them. "Use up to 16 ga at 30A" is kind of a bizare spec. Posts from England say wire nuts aren't used there and describe something like these. They look like they take up more space.
bud--
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Soldering takes longer to do, and longer to undo. A properly installed wire nut works just fine

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: Soldering takes longer to do, and longer to undo. A properly installed wire : nut works just fine : Very true, especially the "undo" part if you don't have the needed slack in the wires. But, if done right, you just clip and go! You shouldn't use the previously twisted parts of the wires anyway, so, really, not a lot of difference to snip 'n' go.
Besides, most codes say NO as near as I can tell.
Pop
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Pop wrote:

Pop Can you provide a citation. The only limitation on the use of solder that I can recall from years of using the US NEC is that you cannot make grounding connections that are dependent on solder for the mechanical connection. The practice that code provision was aimed at was the tack soldering of bonding conductors to enclosures.
--
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
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: > : Soldering takes longer to do, and longer to undo. A properly : > installed wire : > : nut works just fine : > : : > Very true, especially the "undo" part if you don't have the : > needed slack in the wires. But, if done right, you just clip and : > go! You shouldn't use the previously twisted parts of the wires : > anyway, so, really, not a lot of difference to snip 'n' go. : > : > Besides, most codes say NO as near as I can tell. : > : > Pop : > : > : : Pop : Can you provide a citation. The only limitation on the use of solder : that I can recall from years of using the US NEC is that you cannot make : grounding connections that are dependent on solder for the mechanical : connection. The practice that code provision was aimed at was the tack : soldering of bonding conductors to enclosures. : --
If you mean a NEC or similar, no, I can't. It's generally the local codes that forbid it AFAIK. When I said "most codes" I meant the locals. Where I am now in far northern NY, it's not allowed because I asked. I've read other people claiming it's against code too, but no one ever backed it up with a NEC para or anything similar, so I don't know about those. Mainly I said that because I didn't want to make it sound like it's something just anyone can jump into and do. Lots of people here never seem to bother checking with their CEO for things like that and figure if it's NEC it's good to go, for the US anyway.
Hope that makes sense - sorry if it was misleading. If you really want the local code wording, I could get it, but ... not much point to it since it won't have any bearing on anyplace else.
Also, due to its malleability, I wouldn't be surprised if it was forbidden to ever use solder without a mechanical capture at the same time, but that's just a guess too.
Pop
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Pop wrote:

strong as one made with a wirenut alone. Solder is pretty soft.
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: > : Soldering takes longer to do, and longer to undo. A properly : > installed wire : > : nut works just fine : > : : > Very true, especially the "undo" part if you don't have the : > needed slack in the wires. But, if done right, you just clip and : > go! You shouldn't use the previously twisted parts of the wires : > anyway, so, really, not a lot of difference to snip 'n' go. : > : > Besides, most codes say NO as near as I can tell. : > : > Pop : > : > : I'd be surprised if a soldered and wirenutted connection was as : strong as one made with a wirenut alone. Solder is pretty soft.
Actually, it's as good or better both electrically and physically, if the soldering is done properly. A correct solder joint does not have very much of a solder coat over the exposed wire surfaces; wirenut springs grasp it very well and give a good, reliable connection/compression to resist movement. A cold or sloppy solder joint however, will not be held well with a wirenut over time because, like aluminum, it deforms and has no "memory" to be able to return to where it was originally. I don't think there are really very many actual, legitimate reasons to solder house wiring, actually. I certainly wouldn't recommend it in the vast majority of cases. I seem to have been judged to be recommending people solder their wiring connections: I am NOT doing that, by any means! Originally, I simply cited a situation I had where I DID do it, and it was allowed/approved by the inspectors. I meant it to be more of an "interesting sidelight" than any kind of recommendation.
Pop
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Rusht Limpalless wrote:

Yeah, electricians seem to delight in burying the wirenut in insulation tape. It looks very good going in, but a year down the road the insulation has welded itself and won't unravel. There you are jerking the thing around and using the knife in close proximity to other hot wires. I'd rather they slice off the correct amount of wire sheating so that when the nut is tightened, some sheathed length of both wires is well inside the nut (but still below the spring part).
There's an 'Ideal' brand winged nut at the HD, which I found will make reliable connections without pre-twisting. Everytime I re-do a joint, the wires inside turn out to be well twisted around each other.

Unless you use the kind of heavy-duty crimping like the utility uses, I think a good wire-nut will form a better joint.
If you have a junction box with a spaghetti of cables and conduits, then instead of a whole mass of wirenuts inside it, you can get a junction strip from Radio Shack. It consists of a series of screw terminals encased completely in plastic. It will accomodate 3 #12 or a #10 wire on each terminal on each side. This is not the terminal strip that you can get at the HD where the screw heads are exposed and the wire goes directly below the screw head. The RS one has a blob of metal with a bore into which you insert the wires. The screw tightens into the bore. The head of the screw is 1/4" deep in the plastic, so you use a narrow screwdriver to tighten the terminals. You can grab the whole strip with hot connections while you tighten new ones, and you're insulated all the time.
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snip

The power should be off
snip

Except for the screw driver shank.
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Nexus7 wrote:

If I'm thinking of the same terminal strip those individual terminals are only listed for one conductor each. The only strip that I'm aware of that will take two conductors per side is the Marathon brand with a Sems pressure washer under each screw.
--
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
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Nexus7 wrote:
<snip>

Is it UL listed for that sort of use?
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CJT wrote:

Dunno, but it's rated 30 A and 600 V, and it's working fine where I've used it. It's called 12-position European-style Mini Terminal Strip, and the URL is
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId !03986&cp 32058.2032231.2032289&parentPagemily
It says 2X 16 gauge, but it accepts 1X 10 gauge and 1 X 12 + 1 x 14 just fine (I misspoke earlier when I said 2X 12 gauge).
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Lot of info on the web, looks like terminal strips are used a lot in marine wiring. I couldn't find a cross-reference for the Radio Shack item, but what looks the same at a manufacturer site is rated 20 A per connection. One manufacturer even makes junction boxes with these strips built in. They do make for a neat and easily read junction box. These strips come with a wire protector below the screw shank. If that's the case with the RS one also then it is a better connection than a wirenut all around.
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